Women artists and their public art displays will be featured in the exhibit “Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s-now,” which opens on Sept. 16 at the Mills College Art Museum (MCAM).
The exhibit includes work from artists Bonnie Ora Sherk, Karen Finley and Stephanie Syjuco. The show was curated by Christian Frock and Tanya Zimbardo.
A Mills press release sent by Maysoun Wazwaz, the MCAM program manager, said the exhibit is going beyond “traditional views of public art as monumental and/or permanent artworks and instead focuses on often small but powerful temporary artistic interventions…in the urban environment.”
Some of the art being displayed will be a social media and photography piece used to close the Tamms Supermax Prison in Illinois, as well as a piece that raises questions on immigration.
Frock says that restrictions to public expression are part of what makes this exhibit so important.
“Public Works broadly considers how artists subvert their limitations to advance freedom of expression…[and] issues defining public life,” Frock said.
According to Stephanie Hanor, director of the MCAM, this exhibit will feature artists who usually present art in public places, rather than galleries and museums.
Studio art and art history major Nora Roth is excited to see this exhibit and believes this type of public activism art is important.
“I think what will be special about this exhibit is that it has a lot of potential to foster a sense of community in those who engage with it,” Roth said. “It…celebrates the contribution of women to public artistic discourse, which is a rare and valuable thing.”
Roth said she is excited to see what other women artists have been able to achieve.
Hanor is interested to see how people respond to these works of public and performance art and hopes that students will learn strategies for engaging in social practices.
“This is an exhibition that will impact and engage everyone,” Hanor said.
Opening receptions for the Public Works exhibit will be held on Sept. 16 from 6-8 pm.